Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What IS hypnotherapy?

We can mistakenly believe that all hypnotherapy is the same.  It isn't.

When you are looking for a hypnotherapist, it is helpful to know a little about the different styles and techniques, so I am listing the main ones below for you.

Firstly, let's be clear on what hypnotherapy is not.

Hypnotherapy is not EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
Hypnotherapy is not TFT (Thought Field Therapy)
Hypnotherapy is not NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)
Hypnotherapy is not Past Life Regression
Hypnotherapy is not Time Line Therapy

I make this distinction as many alternative health practitioners may offer different types of techniques along with hypnotherapy.  But don't confuse them.  In the main, the techniques used in hypnotherapy have a long history of providing valuable tools for change, and most of the techniques used have a firm and respected evidence base that they are suitable for many different conditions.

Different labels that are given to the general title of hypnotherapy are as follows:

Cognitive Hypnotherapy - a style of therapy that uses the evidence based techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy alongside hypnosis.  Behaviour techniques such as systematic desensitisation have a long history of effectiveness. Therapy is usually short term, concentrates on the here and now and puts a firm treatment plan for an identified presenting issue.

Hypno-psychotherapy - a style of therapy where the therapist has training in psychotherapy as well as hypnosis.  The hypnosis will incorporate different models such as psychodynamic, cognitive and behavioural.

Analytical Hypnotherapy - a style that uses a Psychodynamic approach and a model of the mind that recognises the unconscious.  It examines aspects of your past (not necessarily using regression), but will place importance on past experiences as a way of looking at what is happening for you in the present.

Regression Hypnotherapy - different from past life regression, this style of therapy concentrates on your memories, hidden or not hidden, of earlier events in your life and how these may be influencing your present thoughts and feelings.

Curative Hypnotherapy (Lesserian Hypnotherapy) - a style of therapy used by those trained by  David Lesser, incorporating a number techniques that are commonly used.

Clinical Hypnotherapy - an interesting one this, using a range of techniques, but I was always taught that the definition of Clinical is someone who works in a clinic.  A clinical psychologist, for example, has trained usually within a hospital environment.  The term Clinical Hypnotherapist is however, not recognised by the NHS and I have never met a hypnotherapist who was trained in a hospital - although several psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and doctors are trained to use hypnosis.

Hypnosis may also be used for specific issues, such as Stopping Smoking.  It is usual then to use different styles of suggestion tailored towards that issue.

Of course, even if several hypnotherapists have trained in the same style, they will find, throughout their practice, that they adopt their own style.  Rapport is an important factor for any therapy, and research related to psychotherapy generally shows that psychotherapy is helpful, regardless of style.  Good rapport means that you feel comfortable working with your therapist, you feel understood, listened to, and supported by your therapist in your quest for change.  A good therapist will establish good rapport with you, and if he or she does not feel that their therapy is for you, then they will let you know that before you proceed.

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